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FDA publishes final rule on standard of identity for white chocolate

Standard resulted from 1993 industry petition

Washington, DC – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published today its final rule establishing a standard of identity for white chocolate, the common name given to confectionery products made from cocoa butter, milk solids, nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners (like sugar) and other ingredients, but containing no non-fat cocoa solids. The decision is the result of a 1993 petition filed by the chocolate and confectionery industries and subsequent meetings with FDA as recently as this summer asking for a standard of identity to help eliminate consumer confusion created by the use of various terms for white chocolate-type confections and potential economic fraud through the substitution of lesser-quality ingredients.

The new standard establishes that a product labeled and marketed as white chocolate must contain at least 20 percent cocoa fat, 14 percent milk solids and 3.5 percent milk fat, and not more than 55 percent sugar (or other nutritive carbohydrate sweetener).

“We are very pleased with and encouraged by FDA's final rule on white chocolate,” said NCA President Larry Graham. “The chocolate and confectionery industries have worked very hard for many years to establish a standard that assures consumers confectionery products labeled white chocolate meet the high standards the Food and Drug Administration requires.”

Prior to 1993, white chocolate-type confections were labeled with the words “cocoa butter confectionery” or other similar term not using the word “chocolate.” After the 1993 petition was filed, manufacturers were required to apply for temporary marketing permits to use the designation “white chocolate.” The TMPs created a burden for both manufacturers and the FDA.

The new rule for white chocolate is effective starting January 1, 2004.